Dambulla Viiking held their nerve to deny Galle Gladiators their first win, thanks to a fine spell in the death overs from Anwar Ali to post their fourth win in the Lanka Premier League T20 clash by nine runs at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota yesterday. Chasing a target of 208, the [...]


Viiking’s Ali chokes Gladiators


Dambulla Viiking held their nerve to deny Galle Gladiators their first win, thanks to a fine spell in the death overs from Anwar Ali to post their fourth win in the Lanka Premier League T20 clash by nine runs at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota yesterday.

Viiking opener Upul Tharanga top scored with 77

Chasing a target of 208, the Gladiators seemed on course to break their duck in five outings, powered by half centuries from Danushka Gunathilaka (78) and Azam Khan (55).  At the end they managed only 198-7.

Although they lost Ahsan Ali and skipper Bhanuka Rajapaksa in quick succession before the Powerplay overs ended, they were ahead of the required rate of 10.38 as Gunathilaka and Khan rode their luck to pummel the Viiking attack slamming 94 runs in eight overs for the third wicket.

Left-hander Gunathilaka, the leading scorer in the tournament, made his intentions clear by dancing down the track to hammer Anwar Ali for a boundary past mid-on in the first over. But the Pakistan pacer had the last laugh when he choked the former Sri Lanka one-day captain in the penultimate over of the match despite failing to hang on to a skier himself in the previous ball.

After Viiking electing to bat first rode on contrasting half centuries from openers Upul Tharanga (77, 11 fours, 1 six) and Niroshan Dickwella (60, 5 fours, 3 sixes) to post 207-4 helped by some wayward bowling and sloppy fielding, the Gladiators seemed to be cruising to victory as Gunathilaka and Khan profited from dropped catches to race to their fifties. Gunathilaka smashed seven boundaries and a six to get to his half century off 31 balls while Azam needed just 20 balls bludgeoning three sixes and seven boundaries during his knock of 55.

However, their innings unravelled after Shanaka broke the third wicket stand although they required 41 off the last four overs.

Anwar Ali’s double strike in the 17th over to dismiss Chadwick Walton caught behind and Shehan Jayasuriya at short fine leg with a super bouncer saw the Gladiators slip to 173-5.

Needing 31 off 18 balls, Milinda Siriwardana struck a huge six off Ramesh Mendis but Gunathilaka could only get two runs off Anwar’s first five balls in the penultimate over before perishing after being reprieved thrice earlier with Angelo Perera at long off making no mistake with the skier in the 19th over.

Left with the task of getting 17 in the final over, Kasun Rajitha trapped Dhananjaya Lakshan for a duck to deflate the spirits of the Gladiators.

Earlier, Dickwella set the pace of the match sweeping Jayasuriya for three consecutive boundaries in the fourth over after Pakistan pacer Amir bowled 10 dot balls conceding just three runs in his first two overs.

Dickwella hit the first six of the match off Lakshan and swept Asitha Fernando who went for 56 runs in his four overs to midwicket in the next over for his second hit over the ropes after scooping the previous ball for a boundary over the keeper.

Viiking prospered to 48 without loss in the Powerplay overs with Dickwella racing to his 50 off 30 balls with the help of five boundaries and two sixes.

Tharanga was content to play second fiddle but got into his stride stroking two boundaries off Sandakan in the ninth over as Dambulla got their 100 in 11.2 overs.

Dickwella departed in the 13th over holing out to long on after having danced down the track to thump Lakshan for his third six the previous ball.

Skipper Dasun Shanaka stepped up the tempo muscling a full toss from Fernando to long on while Tharanga also got into act stroking a couple of boundaries to complete his 50 off 42 balls.

Amir returned for his second spell but runs continued to flow off the blades of Tharanga and Shanaka with their 50-partnership coming off just 22 balls with Shanaka smashing two sixes to long-off off Lakshan. Tharanga departed after sharing racy 63-run stand for the second wicket with Shanaka, smashing a low full toss from Fernando to deep midwicket in the 18th over.

Lakshan struck twice within the space of two balls in the 19th over bowling Patel off an inside edge while Shanaka top edged him to short fine leg.


Dambulla Viiking
Upul Tharanga c Lakshan b Fernando 77
Niroshan Dickwella c Jayasuriya b Sandakan 60
Dasun Shanaka c Amir b Lakshan 37
Samit Patel b Lakshan 1
Samiullah Shinwari not out 9
Angelo Perera not out 9
Extras (b8, nb3, w3) 14
Total (4 wickets; 20 overs) 207
Did not bat: Ramesh Mendis, Anwar Ali, Malinda Pushpakumara, Sudeep Tyagi, Kasun Rajitha
Fall of wickets: 1-110 (Dickwella, 12.4), 2-179 (Tharanga, 17.2), 3-187 (Patel, 18.4), 4-188 (Shanaka, 18.6)
Bowling: Mohammad Amir 4-0-23-0, Shehan Jayasuriya 3-0-28-0, Dhananjaya Lakshan 3-0-39-2, Danushka Gunathilaka 3-0-23-0, Asitha Fernando 4-0-56-1, Lakshan Sandakan 3-0-30-1
Galle Gladiators
Danushka Gunathilaka c Perera b Anwar Ali 78
Ahsan Ali Ahsan Ali c Anwar Ali b Patel 19
Bhanuka Rajapaksa st Dickwella b Mendis 5
Azam Khan c sub (Madushanka) b Shanaka 55
Chadwick Walton c Dickwella b Anwar Ali 15
Milinda Siriwardana not out 13
Dhananjaya Lakshan lbw b Rajitha 0
Mohammad Amir not out 1
Extras ((lb4, nb1, w6) 11
Total (for 7 wickets; 20 overs) 198
Did not bat: Lakshan Sandakan, Asitha Fernando
Fall of wickets: 1-42 (Ahsan, 4.2), 2-47 (Bhanuka, 5.1), 3-141 (Azam, 13.1), 4-171 (Walton, 16.2), 5-173 (16.5), 6-190 (18.5), 7-192 (Lakshan, 19.2 ov)
Bowling: Anwar Ali 4-0-37-3, Kasun Rajitha 2-0-23-0, Sudeep Tyagi 1-0-9-0, Samit Patel 3-0-31-1, Ramesh Mendis 3-0-30-1, Samiullah Shinwari 1-0-13-0, Malinda Pushpakumara 2-0-26-0, Dasun Shanaka 2-0-10-1

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